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A transferable development right (TDR) is the right to create a residential building lot or to construct a dwelling unit or build additional square footage onto a commercial, industrial, or residential structure. A TDR is not one of the rights that come with property ownership. Since the late 1960s, TDR has held considerable promise for preserving rural landscapes by moving development potential from the countryside into designated growth areas.
To date, thousands of TDR transactions have occurred, but not as many as some proponents might have hoped. In areas designated for resource protection, rural landowners may resist suggested downzonings that may be used in conjunction with TDRs because they perceive a loss in property values.
This issue of Zoning Practice explains how the TDR process works and shows local governments how to use the zoning ordinance to create effective TDR programs.
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